Hollywood Magic

Deepfakes can look similar to, but are ultimately different from, a lot of Hollywood computer-generated imagery (CGI). For Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), director Gareth Edwards brought back characters Grand Moff Tarkin (Victor Cushing) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). In order to simulate these characters for the new film, motion sensors were placed on actors Guy Henry and Ingvild Delia, who aimed to have their respective performances of Tarkin and Leia emulate that of actors Cushing and Fisher. These live performances generated a 3d digital model.

Digital re-creations of Cushing and Fisher’s face were then blended with the models. Reference data from additional, highly detailed scans of Henry and Delia helped to further sculpt and refine the faces. The goal was to establish a believability and likeness of performance, while enabling these characters to seamlessly exist in the sci-fi story world of Rogue One.

References For more on this process, see Mike Seymour, “Rogue One, ILM’s Digital Humans Sci-Tech Award winning pipeline,” February 2, 2017. Dave Itzkoff, “How ‘Rogue One’ Brought Back Familiar Faces,” New York Times, December 27, 2016. Angela Watercutter, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Helped Resurrect Tarkin for Rogue One,” video: “How Rogue One Recreated Grand Moff Tarkin,” Wired, February 22, 2017. Background theme image from Shutterstock.

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